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by Tom Freeman
14 March 2019
‘Lack of basic data’ on young people’s mental health warn MSPs

Children online - Pixabay

‘Lack of basic data’ on young people’s mental health warn MSPs

Mental health services for children and young people lack basic care data to meet demand and measure their effectiveness, according to a new report by the Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee.

The MSPs have issued the warning after an Audit Scotland report in September said child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) were “complex and fragmented”.

Referrals to CAMHS have increased by 22 per cent over five years.

Committee convener Jenny Marra said: “It is the role of this Committee to ensure that public funds are being spent wisely.

“The absence of basic data in relation to a whole range of factors in mental health provision for children means that it is not possible to say whether public spending is making a difference to young people’s mental health.”

The committee also suggested more research was needed into the impact of social media on young people’s wellbeing.

Last year the Scottish government and COSLA set up an independent Children and Young People's Mental Health Taskforce, chaired by Dr Dame Denise Coia.

In her introduction Coia said the issue was “at the top of the policy agenda”.

She said: “Together we can build an approach to mental health support and services for children and young people that, irrespective of their background or personal characteristics, ensures they receive the right care and interventions at the right time and in the right place.”

Marra said the Public Audit Committee will monitor the taskforce’s progress.

“It is clear that the performance and provision of mental health services requires urgent and significant improvement,” she said.

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